What Does it Mean if Your Car is a ‘write-off’

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to land yourself in a position where your vehicle is deemed as a write-off – don’t worry, many of us have been there! But what exactly does it mean and what should you do if your vehicle is classed as a write-off? Scrap Car Comparison is on hand to simplify the term and let you know how you can get a top price for your crash damaged vehicle, even if it’s been written off.

What is a ‘write-off’?

Put simply, the term ‘written off’ or ‘write-off’ means that a vehicle has either sustained so much damage it’s deemed not fit for the road or the damage it’s sustained is going to cost more money to repair than the vehicle is actually worth.

How will I know if my vehicle has been written off?

If your vehicle has been written-off, your insurance company will tell you. They will also let you know how much they will pay you for your vehicle. To determine what you will receive for your write-off, your vehicle will be put into a category. This category will reflect the amount of damage the vehicle has sustained, and from then you’ll be able to see what your options are – you don’t have to accept low or average offers from your insurance company, as you could get more from scrapping or salvaging your vehicle. Experts at Scrap Car Comparison detail below the write-off categories and what this means for your vehicle.

What are Write-Off categories?

Here is a description, verified from Gov.uk, of each write-off categories in the UK and what options that category (Cat) leaves you with.

Category Description
Category A (Cat A)The vehicle cannot be repaired. The entire vehicle has to be crushed.
Category B (Cat B)The vehicle cannot be repaired. The body shell has to be crushed, but you can salvage other parts from it.
Category C (Cat C)The vehicle can be repaired, but it would cost more than the vehicle is worth.
Category D (Cat D)The vehicle can be repaired and would cost less than the vehicle’s worth,
Category N (Cat N)The vehicle can be repaired following non-structural damage.
Category S (Cat S)The vehicle can be repaired following structural damage.

What is my write-off worth?

The value of an insurance write-off will ultimately depend on what category your vehicle is in, the extent of damage sustained and whether the car has been repaired or not. Calculating what a written off vehicle is worth can be done by adding up the total costs of repairing the vehicle (plus any unexpected costs). Extra costs can happen for a number of reasons, one of them being if more extensive damage is found when the vehicle is being repaired.

Category listed vehicles will be worth less regardless of whether any work has been carried out or not, this is typically down to the following reasons:

  • Buyers are, naturally, concerned that the vehicle may not have been repaired to a high standard. This happens when people try to fix the vehicles themselves without having the knowledge or skills.
  • The resale value will always be affected.
  • Many insurance companies charge an excess for Cat C and Cat D cars which can outweigh the initial price reduction.

Is your vehicle on finance? Find out if your write-off will affect your payment plan and what to do with your write-off if your car or van is on finance.

For more information on the value of an insurance write-off and salvage deduction, discover our Buy Back Hub.

Can I keep my write-off?

Yes. You can technically keep your vehicle in the majority of ‘write-off’ categories, however there are a few things you should know if you wish to keep your written-off vehicle:

  1. Tell your insurer early on – this allows you to keep the vehicle for an agreed settlement price and means you’re in control of when and where you get the vehicle repaired.
  2. If your vehicle is in Categories C, D, N or S and you plan to get this vehicle back on the road, it must be repaired professionally and be in a roadworthy condition.
  3. If you are keeping your Category C, D, N or S vehicle, you’ll need to report the write-off to the DVLA. For a Category S, you’ll also need to re-register the vehicle.
  1. You may keep a Category B vehicle. However, always keep in mind that a car in this state can never return to the road in the future. That being said, if it has spare parts you can salvage you may wish to keep it!
  2. You cannot keep a Category A vehicle, it must be crushed as soon as possible.

Read more on your options if your vehicle is classed as a write off.

Get a top price for your written off vehicle

If you’re thinking about declining the offer from your insurance company, you may want to consider scrapping your vehicle. At Scrap Car Comparison we have a UK wide network of specialist buyers who not only purchase scrap vehicles, but buy insurance write-offs too.
Our scrap and salvage buyers work within the automotive industry and have access to the knowledge and resources to safely return damaged vehicles to a roadworthy condition. They also know the value in an end of life vehicle and have the experience and resources to be able to responsibly break them down if they are beyond repair. Because of this, they can provide incredibly competitive prices to our customers.

Worried about scrapping your vehicle? Read our scrap car myths and common worries so you can rest assured you and your vehicle are in safe hands with Scrap Car Comparison. Find out more about Scrap Car Comparison and the scrap process – it’s really simple!

Get your free, instant quote today, or speak to our friendly team to find out more.


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